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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

LaCasbah, Potsdam NY

Sorry that there are no pictures with this review, but the lighting in this restaurant is certainly not conducive to good pictures.  La Casbah is a Moroccan restaurant in Potsdam. Now, this is certainly a place that has a ethnic flair that I was surprised to find up here in the North Country.  The dining room is broken into 2 sections - an middle eastern decorated front room with lower tables and pillow covered benches, and then a bar area with more generic furniture.  There is a sort of sun porch off the the side of the bar area, which I assume is nice in the summer when it's sunny, but is slightly chilly in the winter months.

Service has always been good, although I've never been there when it's super busy.  I do get the impression that the bar on the second floor is more of a money maker than the restaurant, although have never been up there.  The last time we were there, the only person working was the owner, and he was very attentive.  The wine list is pretty generic, but does cover all the bases.  If I remember correctly, their red wines also includes a Malbec, which is a big hit for the fiance, since that's one of his favorites types of wine and it's not the most common to see on a menu around here.

We started with the festival platter, which is a sampling of Zaalouk (eggplant with tomatoes, garlic and herbs), Bakkoula (sauteed celery and spinach), Barba (fresh beet salad with herb vinaigrette) and Shakshouka (fire roasted peppers and tomatoes in a lemon olive oil vinaigrette).  We weren't big fans of the Barba, but then again, I don't think anyone at the table would claim to be big fans of beets prepared in any way.  The other options were good and I was particularly a fan of the Zaalouk, with the creamy eggplant with a subtle undertone of garlic with some bright herb flavor.  I think this is a good option for those that haven't previously experienced a lot of middle eastern dishes.  This will introduce one to many of the flavors, and you can try a few things!  Just make sure they keep that pita coming for dipping!!

For entrees, you will notice that about half of their menu are "international dishes."  I see these as a throw to those who aren't adventurous enough to try a middle eastern dish.  To be honest, there are plenty of places in the area that offer similar dishes to these, but only one place in the area that offers Moroccan food...  So expand your minds and palates and try something Moroccan when you're there!!

Now, I am only going to comment on one entree.  It's by far my favorite thing there, and I think it's a great introduction to Moroccan food for those who are trying it for the first time.  The Tfaya Couscous is AMAZING!  It's a very flavorful saffron couscous with caramalized onions, raisins, grilled veggies and a meat choice.  I've always stuck with chicken since I think it goes well with the couscous and absorbs the flavors of the saffron, onions and raisins.  It's a mix of meaty flavor with hits of sweetness from the raisins and crunch from the veggies.

All in all, a good change from the average restaurant in the area.  Go there for something different.


La Casbah on Urbanspoon

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